Law Student Volunteer

United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Law Student Volunteer, Summer
310 First Street., Suite #906
United States Attorney's Office
Roanoke, VA 24011
United States
About the Office: 

The United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia, covers 52 of the state's counties and employs approximately 28 Assistant United States Attorneys over three staffed offices. The main office is located in Roanoke, Virginia, with branch offices in Abingdon and Charlottesville. The United States Attorney's Office prosecutes federal criminal offenses and represents the U.S. government's interest in civil cases both affirmatively and defensively.

The Criminal Division investigates and prosecutes federal criminal cases arising from a wide array of criminal activity.  Our office typically prosecutes large illegal drug distribution conspiracies, firearms offenses, violent crimes, immigration crimes, child pornography offenses, computer crimes, human trafficking, civil rights violations, health care fraud, tax fraud, mail and wire fraud and environmental crimes.

The Civil Division handles civil cases including discrimination cases (race, sex, age, disability and religion), representation of federal agencies in bankruptcy cases, Federal Tort Claims Act cases, medical malpractice defense cases.  Civil Division attorneys also act as plaintiff’s counsel in affirmative civil cases such as Medicare and Medicaid fraud cases, qui tam cases, and other cases in which the United States has been injured financially or where injunctive relief is needed.

More information on the Office can be found at:

Job Description: 

Intern projects include a wide array of opportunities for research, writing and case preparation and presentation.  Legal writing areas include responses to defense motions in federal felony cases, responsive briefs to federal appellate courts, and responses to writs of habeas corpus petitions.  Interns may also participate in witness interviews, meetings with law enforcement personnel, trial preparation, and courtroom proceedings.  Students who have satisfied the Virginia State Bar Third Year Practice Rule requirements are given the opportunity to participate in trial work and in the presentation of petty offense cases in United States Magistrate’s Court. 

Students can apply for:

  1.  Summer 2019 only position, which requires a 10-week work commitment;
  2.  both Summer and Academic year 2019/2020 position which would require 10 weeks in the summer and at least one day a week for both semesters of the Academic year;
  3.  a Split Summer and Academic year position, which would require 5 weeks in the summer and at least one day a week for both semesters of the Academic year. A Split Summer must be combined with a full Academic year commitment.
  4.  Academic Year only position, which requires at least one day a week work during both semesters of the Academic year.

Please designate in your application materials which of the four positions you are applying for.  Preference will be given to those students seeking to intern both Summer 2019 and the Academic year.  Cleared Summer interns will begin in May 2019. 



Preference will be given to rising third-year law students.  Superior research and writing skills, attention to detail, a desire to work as a part of a small team of professionals, and a commitment to fairness and integrity are essential characteristics in the selection process.  Applicants must be United States Citizens.  Law school graduates are not eligible.  Selected Interns are subject to a background investigation because of the sensitive nature of the work performed by this office.  Background materials must be submitted timely as directed in order to begin work on time.

Volunteer (Uncompensated). Academic course credit may be offered depending on the applicant's law school.
Minimum travel to other staffed and/or non-staffed offices.
Application Process: 

Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, current law school transcript, and legal writing sample 5-10 pages in length via email to  Students from Washington and Lee are encouraged to utilize the law school system to submit their application materials.  It is best to send all documents in .PDF format.  Applicants need to ensure they reference their preference for the Roanoke Office in their cover letter.To be considered for a summer internship, please submit your application materials by November 1st, 2018.

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Relocation Expenses: 
Relocation expenses will not be authorized
Number of Positions: 
Currently, applications are being considered for five positions in the Roanoke, VA office.
Updated October 9, 2018

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Department Policies

Equal Employment Opportunity:  The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer.  Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability (physical or mental), age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, on the basis of personal favoritism, or any other non-merit factor.  The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice.

Reasonable Accommodations:  This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Outreach and Recruitment for Qualified Applicants with Disabilities:   The Department encourages qualified applicants with disabilities, including individuals with targeted/severe disabilities to apply in response to posted vacancy announcements.  Qualified applicants with targeted/severe disabilities may be eligible for direct hire, non-competitive appointment under Schedule A (5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)) hiring authority.  Individuals with targeted/severe disabilities are encouraged to register for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Shared List of People with Disabilities (the Bender Disability Employment Registry) by submitting their resume to and referencing "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line.  Additional information about the Bender Registry is available at  Individuals with disabilities may also contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC).  See list of DPOCs.    

Suitability and Citizenship:  It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment.  Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Congress generally prohibits agencies from employing non-citizens within the United States, except for a few narrow exceptions as set forth in the annual Appropriations Act (see, Pursuant to DOJ component policies, only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Trustee’s Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, qualifying non-U.S. citizens meeting immigration and appropriations law criteria may apply for employment with other DOJ organizations. However, please be advised that the appointment of non-U.S. citizens is extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department's mission and would be subject to strict security requirements. Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All DOJ employees are subject to a residency requirement. Candidates who have lived outside the United States for two or more of the past five years will likely have difficulty being approved for appointments by the Department Security Staff. The two-year period is cumulative, not necessarily consecutive. Federal or military employees, or dependents of federal or military employees serving overseas, are excepted from this requirement.

Veterans:  There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service- connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that his  or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).


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This and other vacancy announcements can be found under Attorney Vacancies and Volunteer Legal Internships. The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.